Advice about OUSD Kindergarten

Archived Responses: 

June 2009

See also: Transitioning to all-day kindergarten

May 2005

I have heard from multiple sources that the Oakland Unified school district is seriously considering lengthening the school day for kindergarten in the fall-- in response to stressed out teachers that can't fit all they need/want to teach into a few hours, research stating that a longer day is a huge benefit to kids, the district wanting to bring back familes that have opted for private school, and other various reasons. But...when I call the district or our local school to find out, no one really seems to know what's going on, or bothers to return my call. Does anyone out there know about this, or how I can show my support for it? Thanks in advance. hopeful mama

I've heard that OUSD is going to all day K in Fall. Does anyone know about this for certain? What are the pros and cons of all day K? What about teacher workload issues?? Thanks! Julie

My understanding is that the OUSD is starting all day kindergarten in certain schools starting in Sept. 05. I have a son entering kindergarten at Joaquin Miller, which will have the new schedule. All day kindergarten will be adopted by schools this year where there is space available for extra classroom(s). Some schools currently have AM and PM kindergarten classes that share a classroom. Unless an extra classroom can be found to accommodate the new schedule, these schools will be given a year to arrange for a new space and will retain their current kindergarten schedule for the upcoming school year. Bottom line: check with your local elementary school! Charlotte

My son is entering Kindergarten next Fall at Crocker. I also just found out they are doing the long day. I am excited about it. I am a tiny bit worried that it will be a long week for him, but I think the benefits will outway that. Before, the hours were even shorter than his preschool...I had had a big concern with the short day that there was such little time for creative, enrichment and free was all about the ciriculum, which in my opinion is not appropriate for what a kid that age needs. I had talked to some teachers before it was approved. They were hoping it would happen-they ! said they asked for it to happen. They were very stressed with the short day not having enough time to do with the kids what they wanted to do. With more hours, they do not plan to add any more cirriculum, but add all enrichment type stuff and more free play and be able to go deeper with what they are learning. They want the long day.

As for longer work day for the teachers, I'm not an expert, but I believe that they are already contracted to stay until 3 anyway, so they won't necessarily have more hours to work. They will have less prep time, but the teachers I talked to seemed to rather have more time with kids than more prep time. That's what I know.

The benefits of all-day vs. half-day kindergarten depend on the instructional program offered in each! My oldest daughter attended half-day kindergarten at Peralta School in North Oakland, and I'm hoping that the program will continue to be half-day when my twins attend Kindergarten there in 2006. The program at Peralta is especially rich because of its half-day structure. Both the morning and afternoon kindergarten teachers are in the classroom all day collaborating & supporting each other. During a significant portion of each day, the children are divided into small groups, with each teacher supervising a group & a very experienced teacher's aide superviding a third group, resulting in an adult-child ratio of 3 to 20, rather than 1 to 20 as it is in many full-day programs. Although the children are in class for less time than children in full-day programs (approx. 45 minutes less when you take out time spent at lunch), the instruction they get is of higher quality because of the more direct contact they receive from teachers as a result of the lower adult-child ratio. The children receive enrichment & playtime in afterschool activities (either the on-site program or elsewhere). I would be very sorry to see a unique high-quality program like Peralta's eliminated in order to conform to a standardized district model. Hopefully that won't happen since our school building wasn't built to accomodate the extra classroom space that would be required for two all-day classes. Susan